I reach the real through the dream. I invent you reality
– Clarice Lispector
Writing poetry is not about language any more than taking a bath is about plumbing….~ So, galvanised, I write, splintering certain words across blank pages of empty space: why?
Academic and other definitions of poetry as ‘literature’ displace the act of poetic creation from the interior psycho-biological universe to an epiphenomenal world of cultural-linguistic constructs where ‘communication’ is all.
Do I write poetry to communicate? No.
Is my poetry a spiritual exercise? No.
Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, in their different ways, consigned metaphysics to oblivion. What has this to do with me? Everything.
Does this mean that only language remains? No.
God died with metaphysics (but his shadow lives on). What has this to do with me? Nothing. I couldn’t care less about your God.
I will never concede that my poetry is literature. The cultural-linguistic paradigm presupposes that everything depends on language to the extent that Being is literally indefinable in extra-linguistic terms: very convenient – if you are a linguist, a post-modernist or a plumber. Very inconvenient if you are a theologian, even a ‘radical theologian’.
I know my creativity is an innate psycho-active phenomenon. The raison d’etre of my paradigm is transformation, the ‘circumstantial-magical’ convulsion caused by that particular Beauty, ‘the only beauty that should concern us’ (the enigmatic sphinx, the marvellous precipitate of the ancient alchemists) invoked by the transformation of despised prime matter into pure aesthetic gold. Fantastic? Romantic? Symbolist? Surreal? Pop? Subtopian Materialism? But, of course!
The raw material of creation, rather like a chance encounter in the street, is not so much language but me, my ego and all: and the essence of my poetic practice is active imagination. It is inevitable that poets, in pursuit of inspiration, will engage, in some way or other, with all those innate processes of inner integration, those ‘inner workings’ that surely exist. From this perspective the poem itself may appear a by-product of the procedure an exercise in therapy, propaganda or, let’s face it, pure entertainment. Take it or leave it.
For me, as I penetrate the archaic heritage, that archetypal forest of symbols; it is the compulsive activity of inspiration arising from the process of self-discovery that is the prime factor: it is this that dissolves those artificial barriers between fact and fiction, between sleep and waking, between dream and reality, between consciousness and the unconscious, between inner and outer space… Thus the poem is quasi-autonomous; it partakes of the de-familiarising power of symbolic Otherness.
Grounding poetic practice in the ontological matrix dissociates ‘pure poetry’ from the cultural-linguistic, epiphenomenal foreground of ‘literary’ discourse, from the dreary, enervating world of career-writers and fake self-referential experimentalists obsessed with brownie-points and prizes.
I know that unilateral engagement on an aesthetic basis with the principium individuationis does not accord with traditional models of perfectibility or divine purpose; perhaps it can be seen as a promethean affront to the established order, or as a way of repossessing everything that has been expropriated (that is to say, stolen from us) by agents of the Mysterium. This is not some kind of spiritual exercise but a way of accessing (as a psychonaut) the mythopoeic domain, the Enchanter’s Domain: a neo-shamanistic anti-quest that is certainly the very antithesis of enlightenment and salvation. Oh, yes, I know I am a spiritual flaneur, a damned poet and (eye roll) a ‘lost’ soul.
To be damned is to be modern, absolutely modern; and to be modern is to be utterly damned once and for all. The human condition evolves too fast or not fast enough, yet the horizon of change is Fear, and the closer we are to the horizon the less we care about rhyme or reason: blank verse for a blank generation. And that is why.
A C Evans